Our wonderful reader skimac (Mary) emailed me last week with an awesome little story:
“Just thought you might like to see a picture of our morning visit to the Catholic cemetery in Denver. [Another reader] Grace and I did it as a name searching ‘field trip’.
I have been making it a point to visit the cemetery on All Souls Day for many years. As Catholics it is a beautiful and pious gesture to remember the souls in need or our prayers. We have done the visit many times with our homeschool group, but last year I decided to also go on my own a few times later during the All Saints/Souls octave which lasts through Nov. 8. Last year during those individual visits I specifically thought it would be interesting to do some name observations and searches. It was really interesting and I compiled some lists of names I was seeing by birth year and compared it to SS records. Also compared the Catholic to a Protestant cemetery for differences in common names. I thoroughly enjoyed it and want you to know it was encouraged by name discussions at Sancta Nomina.
This year I asked Grace if she would like to come along (we invited a few other Denver Sancta Nomina readers but none could join us). It was a beautiful morning of praying, visiting graves of a few famous folks here, discussing local history, reading/discussing/comparing names, gravestone rubbings, and laying marigolds (Day of the Dead flowers). Grace’s kids came along.”
What a beautiful picture! And how great does this day sound?! In fact, as I told Mary, she and Grace totally inspired me because I meant to visit the graves of my mother-in-law and grandparents on the feast of All Souls and wasn’t able to and was feeling bummed about it — but thinking of going during the octave makes so much sense! And it seemed especially apt today, on election day, as seeing the graves of those who have gone before — those who have finished the race — really helped me realize how every age goes through times when it surely seems as though the world is ending — or at the very least, getting much darker.
I particularly felt that at the first cemetery I visited today. I didn’t intend to visit more than one — my husband had the day off (yay!) and he and I and our two littlest made a morning of it while the big boys were at school, during which we intended to visit my mother-in-law’s and grandparents’ graves. Before that though, we wanted to take a drive on this beautiful fall day and find a place for the boys to run around a little. We decided on a local Revolutionary War monument that we occasionally visit (it’s right near the apple orchard we stopped at for cider donuts and coffee mmmmm), and I only remembered as we were parking that it has an accompanying cemetery, which has both very very old graves and newer ones. So we walked on the winding paths through the cemetery, and I marveled at how some of the old graves were so old you couldn’t make out their names:
I really loved this sign posted on the site:
It was this part I loved the most:
“You are standing upon land that witnessed a momentous event — an outcome considered unimaginable at the time. What happened here forever altered human history … an army of amateurs had defeated a world power.”
Isn’t that so appropriate for today? It reinforced for me that God can make this election come out any way He wants … even momentous, unimaginable ways! And even if the election just runs its course, at least we’re not involved in a Revolutionary War, or a Civil War (as many of the people in the graves I could decipher lived through), or any of the other terrible things humanity has endured. Many of us might feel that we’re in a dark hour, but things could be much worse. It honestly cheers me to think this way!
I actually didn’t find too many interesting namey things at that first cemetery, but I did feel moved to take these photos:
“Our Katie,” died 1871, 21 years old. How her parents must have grieved!
“My Mother.” What a sweet boy he must have been, who erected this.
Mr. Telfair was born in the 1700s!
Okay, one namey headstone: I was intrigued by Mayte. It looks like a variant of the Spanish Maite, which is a contraction of Maria and Teresa (and behindthename says that’s what Mayte is), but given that she lived in 19th century upstate New York and her maiden name was Wood, I’m wondering if this particular Mayte might have different origins. Any guesses?
We prayed for the residents of this cemetery — it’s not a Catholic cemetery, and it was sort of enormous to me to think we might be the only people who have ever prayed specifically for those particular souls. We then visited our second cemetery of the day, saying prayers for my mother-in-law and grandparents and all the residents of that cemetery as well. (I didn’t do any name sleuthing there though — see this post for more on the names I’ve discovered there in the past.)
All in all, it was an election day well spent, praying for those who have gone before, considering the times they lived through, and being reminded of the everlasting power of God.
We haven’t voted yet — we will tonight after dinner — and if you still haven’t voted and would like some prayers and/or patron saints to ask for intercession for wisdom and peace, this post might be helpful. It’s certainly also helpful for anyone who wants to keep praying until this thing is done! God bless America!